In 24 hours Will Shaw’s family will be dead. Armed with a gun, but no information, distraught, confused and alone in an unfamiliar city, Will (Henry Cavill) is forced to piece together the puzzle of his missing family. Unwittingly embroiled in a Government conspiracy with agents from all sides hot on his tail, an unrelenting chase across the streets of Madrid intensifies and Will is forced to question everything he has ever known in order to stay alive long enough to rescue his family… but is there anyone left he can trust? Starring Henry Cavill (Immortals, Man of Steel) alongside Hollywood action legends Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver, ‘The Cold Light of Day’ is an adrenaline fuelled action thriller from director Mabrouk El Mechri. The film is released September 7th in the US, while it sees its Blu-Ray and DVD release in the UK on September 10th.
You filmed ‘The Cold Light of Day’ just after ‘Immortals,’ a film you trained extensively for to get your characters physique and fighting abilities on point. With this, you’re playing an average man, with no particular skills. What was the experience like preparing for this role?
Henry Cavill: The preparation for this role was different, indeed (laughs). I came off ‘Immortals’ where I had to be super fit, and sort of the killer of men. This one was quite the opposite because I was told that I wasn’t allowed to do a single push-up or sit-up, I had to eat and drink as much as possible and be as average and normal as I possibly could be – within the short space of preparation time given, because ‘The Cold Light of Day’ was literally filmed off the back of ‘Immortals.’ The idea of the preparation was: be less competent and walk with less balance. For example, in a high stress situation, Theseus was very much someone who would react perfectly. In ‘The Cold Light of Day,’ Will doesn’t act that way at all (laughs). He runs or he fires blindly and tries to survive. The preparation was different. It was difficult to do prep for that. You kind of have to just feel it in the moment and run with it. But the most difficult thing was I suppose getting out of shape, it was trying to be as out of shape as possible so that it’s more believable in the story.
As the story progresses, with all the madness that’s going on around Will, with him feeling lost and alone in a city he‘s unfamiliar with. His father revealing his true identity comes as an enormous shock to him…
Henry Cavill: Oh yeah. Will is desperately trying to find his family, and his father pops out of nowhere, saves him from being nabbed by the police – which he initially went to for help. Then he has to reveal these closely held secrets in this moment of absolute horror and panic….as far as your average human being in concerned. He reveals to Will that he’s been working with the CIA. It’s incredibly difficult for Will to accept, number one, because his fathers never been there for him – he‘s never been a supportive person. And two, because he’s lived a lie as far as Will’s concerned his entire life. I think Will wants any reason to hate his Dad, no matter the situation (laughs), he just needs another reason to say, “F you.“ And sure enough, this is another situation. It hurts even more, as his families gone, he feels alone, he’s with one member of his family, and he’s forgotten all of the past stuff because it’s like, “Ok, let’s get the family back.” And then that family member, his Dad, makes him feel even more alone by revealing he’s not the person Will thinks he is.
With 'The Cold Light of Day,' you got to work with two bona fide action film legends in Sigourney Weaver and Bruce Willis. How was that experience for you, working alongside those two actors playing this man who’s doing everything he can to survive and find his missing family?
Henry Cavill: I’ve got to say, Sigourney Weaver was fantastic. I really enjoyed working with her; she’s a wonderful woman and a fantastic actress. Being her target, as much as it was horrifying and scary in the moment, it was a pleasure at the same time. Ripley hunting me down! (laughs) With Bruce Willis, in a movie like this, having someone like him with his immense action-figure status is fantastic – especially with the way the story goes. You almost expect ’The Cold Light of Day’ to go in a John McClain direction for a second, you see an inkling of it, and then all of a sudden it’s gone. And then with Will’s call to action, it’s in his genes, his father is made of that kind of stock. Will is his son after all, if not by personality, then definitely by blood. There are moments in the story where Will’s level head and sense of attack – as opposed to flee – really kick in. Bruce Willis was great.
I read that director Mabrouk El Mechri asked you not to learn Spanish and to keep Madrid as a mystery, for you not to explore the city?
Henry Cavill: Yeah. Mabrouk asked me specifically not to learn Spanish and not to explore the city, purely because if you have a familiar place you’re shooting in….admittedly, after take 6 or 7, the area becomes more familiar. But if you are wondering blind and you’re seeing new sights – as much as Will is a little bit blinkered in just trying to survive at the time, it does enhance that aspect of it being strange and different. And then when you have people chatting in Spanish and you have no idea what they’re saying, which is why he said, “Do not learn Spanish.” Rather than recognising certain words, once you’re in the moment, you hear someone say whatever it may be, you may clock that and register it, compared to it just being a wall around you as you’re trying to survive in a very strange place.